Thursday, December 9, 2010
Art restores my faith in humanity. I visited the Met recently, and can't help but wonder whether it is entirely unjust to consider the human civilizations before our current one more "backward." The marvels of Oceanic wooden carvings, Rodin sculptures, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Van Gogh's passionate flourishes are just but a few of the artistic triumphs of our species. Of course, being the yoga practitioner that I am, I had to wander over to the South & Southeast Asian art exhibit, which was unfortunately cordoned off for the most part. I peered over the velvet rope at the Shiva Nataraja statues, so iconic of Hinduism. There was a Ganesha statue made of sandstone, with careful detailing of his headdress and broken tusks, as well as such smoothness of Ganesha's elephant trunk. I was impressed by a mural of the Medicine Buddha with his entourage, covering the entire wall of a giant exhibition room. It must have taken the artist quite a long time to finish that! I saw countless bodhisattvas and buddhas, though all lovely, none inspired the same response in me as the one I saw in Deer Park (Sarnath). Most of all, I was touched by the artists' patience, devotion, and faith. How much dedication it must take to paint a twenty foot long calligraphy scroll, to carve intricate detailings into bronze, and to inscribe tiny flowers on French porcelain! The beauty and splendor captured fleetingly in these works of art reminds of the Truth that is out there. This is beauty that is not on the superficial reality-show-makeover level. I left the museum feeling like I'd eaten a hearty meal, satisfied on a level beyond just that of my stomach.